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Posted on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 11:32 a.m.

Woman reports rape in downtown Ann Arbor parking structure elevator

By Lee Higgins

Related story: Ann Arbor DDA director says officials are increasing patrols in parking structures after rape report

Ann Arbor police said they are now investigating five recent attacks on women walking alone.

A fifth victim came forward Thursday, reporting that a man followed her into an elevator at the Liberty Square parking structure between 10:30 p.m. and 11p.m. Monday and sexually assaulted her, police spokeswoman Lt. Renee Bush said.


Liberty Square's entrance from East Washington Street.

Angela Cesere |

The victim, a 26-year-old Ypsilanti woman, did not go to the hospital after the rape. She reported the attack after seeing media coverage of the other attacks, Bush said.

"We're obviously very concerned and we're working very hard to try to get the suspects identified," Bush said.

The attacker was described as white, 26 years of age, 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 7 inches tall, with short, dark and straight hair, police said.


More stories on recent attacks on women in Ann Arbor:

In all 5 recent attacks, the description of the attacker includes the same height and similar additional features.

Police have said they're considering a serial rapist scenario, but also said on Thursday that no evidence supports that.

Police said on Thursday that they had a total of 4 complaints since last Friday involving women walking alone being assaulted by a man. In one case, a woman was raped on South State Street.

The parking structure has entrances on both East Liberty and East Washington, west of South State. It formerly was known as Tally Hall.

A representative of Republic Parking, the private company that's contracted to operate the downtown parking system, said she hadn't heard about the assault but couldn't comment further. DDA Executive Director Susan Pollay could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, the University of Michigan is increasing patrols near Central Campus, spokeswoman Diane Brown said in an email.

"We have increased police patrols of and nearby Central Campus especially during late night and early morning hours," she said. "This is an effort to provide more visibility and therefore a deterrent as well as try to generate more investigation leads."

U-M also has issued crime alerts about the off-campus attacks because of their proximity to campus., and also is offering safety tips to students.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) SPEAK UP.


Cendra Lynn

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 10:07 p.m.

Why I walk with dogs. Everywhere. Why my dogs are trained - so they are well-behaved with friendly people. They are better judges than I of what someone might do. My previous dog interrupted a mugging before I knew it was happening. I was alerted to it by feeling her jerk the leash as she rose to bite the guy's face. He was trying to run backwards in snow, and she came a half inch from his stomach as the leash stopped her, ready to do GBH. Current dog's vibes cause approaching men to cross the street at night. Fide canem.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 6:03 a.m.

Who among you really considers 10:30 to 11PM a "late night" attack? In Michigan at this time of year it has only just recently been dark. Any woman out at this time cannot be painted as irresponsible. She very well could be the restaurant employee who just finished cooking or serving your evening meal, or cleaning up after you. The bars don't close until 2AM, am I right? I wouldn't know myself but THAT is what I would call a "late night" issue. Definitely not blaming the victims here - just wondering where some people get their notions of what a working day might consist of. We are not all 9-5. Many of us are working whatever jobs hours we can get, or we are working a second job besides the 9-5.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 5:48 a.m.

Security cameras are a great idea, especially in the north side entrance which seems more vulnerable.

Antoine Dodson

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:33 a.m.

Run and tell that, homeboy.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

I would point out that all of us can help with this problem. Any time you're out at night, keep your eyes open. If you see someone out walking alone, help them by watching out a bit. The police can't be everywhere, even if we put back the force we had in 2000 (which we should think again about). My family was just at Fuller Park, for a family birthday party. After the pool closed and everyone left, one young woman was still there, waiting for a ride. As we finally started packing up to leave (getting pretty dark) my wife went over to make sure she had a ride coming. She did, and her ride got there before we left, but we weren't feeling very good about leaving until she was safely away. Help out, people.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

The links in the story are not quite obvious to readers. The link to the composite picture of the suspect ought to occur here: In all 5 recent attacks, the description of the attacker includes the same height and similar additional features. with a [See composite sketch] at the end of the sentence. Instead, the link to the picture is in the next sentence. More than one reader missed this.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 11:40 p.m.

I keep hearing rape has nothing to do with sex? Even though the act is forced sex? I guess if people say a man forcing someone to have sex with them to fulfill some type of desire isn't sex then this person should Not have to register as a Sex Offender if he is convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct. Because clearly criminal sexual conduct by forced penetration (CSC 1st and 3rd in MI) has nothing to do with sex. Rapist should then be removed from the sex offender registry because what they did is just an assault.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:10 a.m.

So the Sexual Act of forced sex to gain power, control, lust, or other gratification has nothing to do with sex? How can forced sex not be about sex? I don't think I need that explained to me. I've worked with sex offenders for years and while some will force sex for power and control most of the crimes are for lust and satisfying their sexual arousal. That is why they are called Sex Offenders. This myth that rape is not about sex is no longer viewed as correct by any experts in sexual deviance. Again there is a major difference in assault and Sexual Assault, especially to the victim. Because the crime was and is forced sex.

Matt Cooper

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:48 a.m.

And you have no concept of rape as a means of gaining power and control, whereby the sexual act is a vehicle to that power and control? Does this really have to be explained to you?


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 11:38 p.m.

AAPD should use decoys, the alleged perp's composite should be plastered all over the area (street posts, kiosks, etc.), and guardian angel style neighborhood patrols should be formed. If AAPD's chief and his department are not up to the job, then bring in the MSP or at least the county sheriff's office.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:34 a.m.

Who? With 7 officers on duty...who is going to be a decoy? If there was only one criminal in the city of Ann Arbor to look for life would be grand. Do you think drug deals aren't going down? What about the stabbings and shootings? Remember the poor woman murdered in the Blockbuster video store? We not only need a police presence to deter crime, but we need police to be available for special details (decoys), and to investigate the crimes. Who is left to investigate? And if there is no over time? I bet the police chief wants to eat his words now when he said recent cuts won't affect the city.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 10:52 p.m.

If the men of Detroit can form the "Detroit 300" to patrol the streets and catch a rapist to protect their women,why can't we do something similar in Ann Arbor?


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

Because there are no students right now to help with this. Remember, students go home in May and don't come back until September. This is on or near UM property. Ann Arbor police do their job. UM does theirs September thru May. In September Ann Arbor UM Students can start their vigilante squad.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 10:12 p.m.

Serial sexual offender here?! Ya' THINK?! The frightening aspect to this to me, is that the composite photo looks like Joe college boy! I suggest ALL women walk in groups only! A rape will affect a woman for a LIFETIME!

James J. Gould

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

I'd like someone to answer my question:::: WHY IS THERE NO COMPOSIT SKETCH OF THE RAPIST ? Surely after five attacks the police can come up with something to show the public.

Matt Cooper

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:46 a.m.

Your question was asked and answered at least twice.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 10:13 p.m.

There is a composite sketch of this man on


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 9:45 p.m.

Dear Mayor Hieftje, Dear City Council Members, I would like to hear from each of you how 'comfortable' you are with the sexual assault of women in the City of Ann Arbor? And then I would like to hear from each of the victims how 'comfortable' they are. Because I, as a taxpaying and voting woman in Ann Arbor am no longer 'comfortable' with your policies of cutting the AAPD into nothing. I am no longer comfortable with having no beat cops and no bike patrols. I cannot be comfortable with not being able to feel safe in Ann Arbor as a woman. Pamela Blevins-Behjatnia


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 9:34 p.m.

I wonder if any officers were on "speed-patrol" this night? If this is a serial rapist, the area that he is targeting is somewhat limited in scope. From Community High School to Liberty Square, to Weill Hall, it appears that this person knows the area very well and seemingly finds it somewhat easy to flow through this area. To think, all of this during one of the biggest highlights for the city, the Art Fair. And the city can't seem to readjust their officers to address this concern. There's been five attacks already, regardless if the police doesn't think they're dealing with a serial rapist. It just seems so simple to put the officers where they are needed. Whether having a patrol car in front of the Dream Nite Club to discourage fights, or walking through Greenwood St during their annual party (which occurs on a certain day~it's not like the police doesn't/shouldn't know when it occurs). Park one of the fire trucks on campus and have firefighters do foot patrols. This way they can be near the truck in case of a fire and offer support if the police department is short on staff. Far fetch? Have you ever seen a fire truck at Kroger while the firefighters shop for groceries? Or do they still do this with their new contract?


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

Maybe it's time to set up some security cameras around town.


Sun, Jul 24, 2011 : 9:19 p.m.

Yeah, it would only be a matter of time before the next woman's rape is a new internet sensation.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

The downtown Ypsi library does have them around their buildings. I was totally surprised by this. Made me feel safer in Ypsi then in Ann Arbor.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

The person(s) responsible for these attacks are the attacker(s), not the cops, not the city council. The last time we had a rash of attacks we were up to our armpits in cops and they happened any way. Cops cannot be everywhere and if they were, people would complain about that. We all need to help by paying attention to what is going on around us (for our own safety) and reporting suspicious activity immediately.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

I totally agree with this one. Short staffed police officers cannot respond quick enough if there are not enough hands to help. We were told when our cars were broken into that it would be an hour wait because they sorted priorities on seriousness of calls. And this was the sheriff dept that we pay yearly to help us out. Go figure. Everyone is short handed. Time to start a neighborhood watch?


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 5:43 a.m.

Who can we report to if the police are short staffed? How long will it take for the police to respond?

Patricia Lesko

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

Lee, On April 26th John Hieftje told he was &quot;pretty comfortable&quot; with the cuts made to the city's police department. Why is there no mention of Hieftje's interview in this story? Can you tell explain why DDA Executive Director Susan Pollay was interviewed and not John Hieftje or the other members of City Council who have gone on the record supporting the cuts to police and fire, 10 of whom voted to approve the last three budgets that have reduced police and fire personnel (Ward 5 CM Mike Anglin did not vote on the 2010 budget)? Where's the interview with Police Chief Barnett Jones, who stood before Council and claimed 2010 cuts would not impact safety services (another piece)? Susan Pollay, and Republic Parking are not responsible for public safety in our city. Pollay is not an elected official, and she is certainly not the elected official who had the unmitigated hubris to say he was &quot;pretty comfortable&quot; with the cuts he made to police and fire, and to fib (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> that the 54 officers of the U of M DPS are at the beck and call of Ann Arbor. An official at U of M DPS responded to Hieftje's claim by saying, &quot;Oh, Gawd....&quot; If you are going to report the news, please try not to do it like an episode of The Simpson's, where Police Chief Wiggims is always at the donut shop, and Mayor Diamond Jim Quimby is never held accountable.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 5:36 a.m.

I don't see any disrespect here. It is a concern because lower levels of police could attract more crime here. We don't want more victims of any crime.

Matt Cooper

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

&quot;Why is there no mention of Hieftje's interview in this story?&quot; Because this is a story about a sexual assault, not about police staffing levels. There are other articles that allow you to state your opinions about these issues on. This is not it. Please remember there is a woman who was traumatized by this attack, and be respectful of her pain by not turning this into a political rant.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

&quot;These layoffs will not affect public safety and the number of officers on the street&quot; How's that working for you Ann Arbor citizens? There was a post about undercover officers. Never gonna happen, AAPD has only 7-9 officers available at any time on the street now. They said no overtime so guess what? Good luck citizens!!! Don't need to be a gun nut to want to protect yourself. Because there won't be a cop when you need one. Especially if something else is going on at the same time.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:26 a.m.

No...not in elevators, but on the streets where the beat cops used to be. Perhaps hearing a scream, or deterring an event from happening. While the rapes are awful, there is more crime going on than that. The police are too short handed. Get real.

Matt Cooper

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:41 a.m.

Yes, and of course had there been 20 or more extra cops on the street, at least one of them surely would have been riding elevators in public parking structures just to look for potential rapists. Right?


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:06 p.m.

That a Democratic counsel for you. Their heads are up their patooty.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 10:17 p.m.

Oh, really, Nixon! This serial sexual offender is a PARTISAN issue! Please!


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

I am not commenting in any way on if the victim was drunk or had been drinking. I just want to point out in these late night situations, usually people are out with friends at parties, concerts, bars or any other place, and the Michigan rule basically dose not permit you to have even one drink if you have your gun. I am not commenting on the gun being an effective deterrent, just that state law prohibits you from carrying it in certain situations, so carrying a gun (under the law) would only work for people that are going out and not having even a drink, or weren't going to one of the banned places. <a href=",1607,7-123-1591_3503_4654---,00.html" rel='nofollow'>,1607,7-123-1591_3503_4654---,00.html</a> Carrying Under the Influence An individual licensed to carry a concealed pistol shall not possess a concealed pistol on their person or motor vehicle while they have any bodily alcohol content (.02 bodily alcohol content [BAC] or above) or a controlled substance.* and Pistol Free Areas Individuals licensed to carry a concealed pistol by Michigan or another state are prohibited from carrying a concealed pistol on the following premises: Schools or school property but may carry while in a vehicle on school property while dropping off or picking up if a parent or legal guardian Public or private day care center, public or private child caring agency, or public or private child placing agency. Sports arena or stadium A tavern where the primary source of income is the sale of alcoholic liquor by the glass consumed on the premises Any property or facility owned or operated by a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other place of worship, unless the presiding official allows concealed weapons An entertainment facility that the individual knows or should know has a seating capacity of 2,500 or more A hospital A dormitory or classroom of a community college, college, or university A Casino


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 11:28 p.m.

It's also against the law to rape in any of those locations.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:06 p.m.


James J. Gould

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

Why isn't there a composit sketch of this guy. Come on, four women and none of them could describe him ??


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

Uhhhh, yeah there is. It has been in the new for days.....

Matt Whale

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

There is. <a href=""></a>


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

Per the article, &quot;The victim, a 26-year-old Ypsilanti woman, did not go to the hospital after the rape. She reported the attack after seeing media coverage of the other attacks, Bush said.&quot; Does this mean that a rape kit was not run so there's no DNA evidence should this guy be caught? And does this mean that this victim wouldn't have reported being raped had she not seen media coverage of other attacks? I also don't understand the comment in the article that the police are saying there's NO evidence to support a serial rapist scenario. Hmm, let's see...We have a sudden rash of rapes in a short period of time in a particular part of town, all of which were committed by an a person or persons matching the same description. Unless rapes in this area are a fairly regular occurrence, this is what might be considered a pattern! Finally, to those excoriating the AA police for not deploying undercover officers, do you really think they would publicize this if they were? Perhaps you'd feel they were more competent if they posted a schedule of where there undercover officers will be each night?


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:40 p.m.

I may not be involved in the investigation, but I did read the article and noted that it said, &quot;In all 5 recent attacks, the description of the attacker includes the same height and similar additional features.&quot; While purely circumstantial, it does seem to hint at a pattern. That's why I questioned the police statement from the article, &quot; Police have said they're considering a serial rapist scenario, but also said on Thursday that no evidence supports that.&quot; NO evidence? Really? Just the number of incidents in a short time period and in the same area suggests a pattern, not a series of random occurrences.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:22 a.m.

What's even scarier many women haven't come forward. The guilt, shame, humiliation, and fear result in unreported cases. I pray that there aren't more victims out there who have not come forward. 5 cases is 5 too many. Let's hope this is the end of this. Love the comment about posting the schedule of under cover officers. Excellent point! It's not like a public service announcement will be made. Ann Arbor has some of the best trained officers in the state if not country. Some people just don't think before they write.

David Paris

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:49 a.m.

I think that in regards to evidence they mean that there is no physical evidence that connects them all, it's all just circumstantial, you do know the difference, right.

Matt Cooper

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:39 a.m.

Are you involved with the investigation? Do you have intimate details about what the attacker was wearing in each occurrence? Do you know for certain that all descriptions match each other? Do you know what exact modus operandi was applied in each instance? Let's not jump to conclusions without proper information. There's a lot more that goes into comparisions of each instance than &quot;Well, he's a white male, about 5 foot 7, and he attacked in the middle of the night&quot;.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

Lee, is there a chance we can get some more info on the style of attack? Are victims being confronted from the front, rear or is it a blitz type attack? Does the offender start by initiating a conversation? This may be helpful for potential victims awareness. Is each offense different in approach? Do the descriptions match well enough to assure we have one attacker and not a copy cat? I wonder about that because AAPD is considering serial rapists but has no evidence to support it. If they think this is the same guy I would say there is a serial rapist out there.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.

I suggest to all the women who love to hang out down town late at night especially for clubbing. DO NOT TAKE A KNIFE! take mace learn self defense and stick with a buddy. And as for catching this guy i think some undercover cops would be nice. If we can just have a few people get together at this parking structure that seems to be having all the attacks in it then we can set up people to watch.

Matt Cooper

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

Chemical mace is illegal in Michigan. Pepper spray however, is not.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 10:38 p.m.

Bear spray works better. You can get a good 2 feet at the attacker. Trust me, that stuff is better then wearing bells any day. Now off to refill my bear spray. Never used it out west.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

How bout the women who work late at night to feed their kids?????


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:33 p.m.

Correction, Do not take a knife unless you know how to and are willing to employ it effectively. It like guns are not for show. If you have to pull it out, then use it otherwise, yes there is a chance it may be taken from you.

Brandon Dimcheff

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.

The best thing anybody can do is to pay attention to their surroundings. You can't always predict when somebody's going to come out of the bushes and attack you, but you can certainly take precautions to vastly decrease the likelyhood of somebody getting the &quot;jump&quot; on you. You don't *have* to enter the elevator with some random guy if you don't want to. You can look around you in every direction when you walk somewhere alone at night. I check behind myself when I'm alone at night and go around a blind corner, even though I'm way less likely to be a target than a woman alone at night. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I've made eye contact with a few people over the years that I'm pretty sure were dissuaded from following me just because I gave them a good stare and they knew I saw them. I've gotten out of the way/crossed the street to allow people to pass when they suddenly start following me for no apparent reason. Making a racket doesn't hurt, either. All of this is especially important if you're carrying a weapon that could be used against you. You're right that if you go for your gun after somebody is on top of you, you're not in the best tactical situation. A gun won't do you much good if somebody knocks you out from behind. That being said, most attackers aren't expecting you to pull a gun on them, so you do have a bit of an element of surprise. I always hear this &quot;you're more likely to have the gun used against you&quot; argument, but I have never seen anybody give convincing evidence that this is the case. The best thing to do is to avoid being attacked by being aware and using common sense. If that fails, being aware enough to be ready to flee or defend yourself is of utmost importance. Walking around on the phone in a low-risk situation is fine. Doing so alone in the middle of the night in a blind alley is probably not a good idea. Be aware, people. Attackers have to choose who to attack. Don't help them choose you.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 10:32 p.m.

I agree, Brandon. I always walk with at least two other people at night....very often in the middle of the street if we feel unsafe at any point.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

Right on!!! Be ready, be aware, be safe. I would also say do not let these people win, go out, do what you desire, live your life the way that you want to. If something does happen, do what you can to survive, try to take note of anything that would identify this person, scream, draw attention to the act. I for one will be aware and if I hear someone in distress I am going to do everything I can to help. Be aware, not only for yourself, but for others!!!

Brandon Dimcheff

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:25 p.m.

Let me clarify: I am in no way trying to blame the victims here. In an ideal world, everyone would be able to listen to their iPods and talk on the phone and pay no attention to their surroundings without getting assaulted by some depraved idiot that's roaming the streets. Unfortunately that's not the world we live in. I'm just trying to give some advice on how to keep yourself from being a victim. This is the same as advising somebody to look both ways before stepping into a crosswalk even though cars are required to stop for you. You should be able to just walk without looking, but you're drastically increasing your likelyhood of getting hit if you don't look.

Monica R-W

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

Wow, this is becoming serious in A2. Hate to say it but the Mayor's decision to cut Ann Arbor Police Officers is beginning to seem like a extremely bad idea.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:10 a.m.

Except that it isn't the Mayor's decision. It was a recommendation from the City Administrator and approved by City Council. Come on, it's not that hard. Ann Arbor has a City Administrator - the Mayor is just a member of Council. Why do people have trouble with that? I don't like the cuts to police and fire either, but put the blame in the right place.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

Not to mention having cut the firefighters. And does everyone know that federal law says that you have to have FOUR (not just a crew of three) firefighters on the scene to enter a burning building? Are we waiting for another fire disaster? We have already lost several lives in fires in recent times. PUBLIC SAFETY!


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

Yeah i agree 100% with you on that. Me and my friends knew when we were sitting in history class and we heard about the cut on police officers that things were gonna get worse


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6:53 p.m.

also, now they cut the police force, they'll just end up paying the reduced force overtime thus not saving all the money they wanted to by cutting officers.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6:52 p.m.

beginning to? I think most people have the common sense to know that if you don't protect yourself (city) you leave yourself (city) open to crime creeping up. Unfortunatly it's a rapist, I'd rather have a rash of car breakins.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.

Way to go City Council and Major Hieftje for cutting the public safety budget! I've also noticed several street lamps in my neighborhood have gone dark. Welcome to the new economy, and expect to see more sensational headlines as more and more people are robbed, beaten, raped, drunk-drivered, and more. I want to chime in with more safety tips for women who might have to walk alone: When a friend and I mugged at gunpoint in Ann Arbor (not recently, and the perp was caught), the police to walk in the street rather than on sidewalks because that makes it harder for people to drag you into the bushes. Also, if I remember correctly, the serial rapist in the Arb targeted women who were jogging with headphones. Headphones distract you from your environment and make it easier for people to sneak up on you- and they know it. It is best to keep both eyes and ears open right now, and walk as far from bushes and alleys as possible. It's easier to get out of the way of a car.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6:27 p.m.

I think it's time to fire up the batsignal...but in all seriousness every available cop should be on the street,including the UofM police. Find a way to pay for the overtime until this guy is caught.

Lynn Liston

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6:05 p.m.

I agree with Ms. German- the best advice is that women should not walk alone downtown. Go with friends. Don't get on elevators with men you don't know. These kinds of criminals are opportunists- deny them the opportunity. For a small price, you can purchase a little personal alarm that you can carry in your hand or around your wrist. To activate the alarm, just pull on a cord that releases a pin, setting off the alarm. The noise is pretty loud and better yet, if you can hold it against your assailant's ear, you can break their eardrum. Then you drop everything and run, screaming as loud as you can.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

Don't forget you elbow is the strongest part of you body. Use it.

Dr. Vag

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

Thank you AA.Com for moving this story to where it belongs. Only the spread of information will increase vigilance by women around town. Stay safe ladies.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 5:53 p.m.

Maybe it's time for the State Department to issue a &quot;travel advisory&quot; for women wishing to visit Ann Arbor.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 5:53 p.m.

Regular readers of long ago acknowledged a surprisingly treacherous undercurrent of atavistic fear and loathing in the supposedly liberal Ann Arbor community. It's blooming now like a crop of toadstools under a rotten oak tree after a rain. If I was a male in my 20s, now would look like a good time for an Upper Peninsula vacation, what with the literal and figurative heat on the community. Expect reader comments to puff like pigeons' breasts in mating season with all the cyber-tough guys out for electronic blood.

Milton Shift

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

If more people were willing to pull the trigger when confronted with violence, I'd of course put guns over tazers as a tool for stopping rapes. But there are just so many people who can't get themselves to use deadly force, and their weapon ends up playing into the hands of the aggressor. Either way, there is no excuse for tazers being illegal. Women have been denied what is inarguably a good way to defend themselves. Pepper spray is only a good idea when you are at least a couple paces away and have a way to escape or disable them. I know a cop that used it on someone at close range and they beat the crap out of him - the pain made the guy go berserk. Don't use it within grabbing/lunging distance... pepper spray doesn't disable, it blinds and enrages. That's what I've seen, at least.

Milton Shift

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 11:49 p.m.

Mick52, if guns are less threatening than tazers, then why do armies use guns? Just curious. I can't understand the desire to face a hail of bullets instead of an electric shock.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.

oy the ignorance, no offense meant. Taser's of the civilian dart employing variety leave tagents (serial #s on tiny confetti) whenever deployed. They are also quite costly and need to be registered with the company before they are activated. No criminal is buying them and there are none in MI civilian hands to steal. If you are fighting for your life, as in your life is ALREADY in danger, a weapon of yours being turned against you is a small concern weighed against the chances that same weapon may save it. OC/Pepper Spray up to 10% strength is legal in MI. I am not aware of any limitations for it's use in defense of your life if the attacker is drunk or high. Be that as it may pain is only one effect. The other is irritation of the eyes and your ability to breathe. Drunk or high, if OC works on you, you can't attack for long when you can't see or breath.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:33 p.m.

I think mace may be illegal, and I believe it also has limitations when used on an intoxicated person. The attacker can't be dulled to pain by drugs or alcohol for it to work.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

i think instead of guns and knifes tazers, combat, and mace would be a good thing. because if you use a weapon it is most likely to be turned against you.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

Completely disagree. I do not want criminals running around armed with tazers, so the fewer out there to buy/steal, the better. If I am tazed in my home, I will be tied up before I recover. I would take my chances facing a firearm rather than a tazer.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

I disagree that the Tazer is &quot;the single best tool a woman can have to defend herself, as they are instantly disabling.&quot; It is one tool not the penultimate tool for all conditions or circumstances. For example. Tasers and stun guns don't work on a small percentage of the population. They require good contact on skin with the probes. For stun guns this requires close contact. For Tasers they require the probes to make contact also and this can be defeated by thick or baggy clothes. The civilian Tasers don't have a drive mode IIRC and only a 30 second discharge time. They're meant as a shoot, drop and run tool. Not nec good in an enclosed area. Finally as instantly disabling as a Taser is, once it's off the affects are also almost instantaneously dissipated as well. While some are also immune to OC/Pepper Spray, and it is not great in windy or enclosed areas at least the effects persist.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 5:29 a.m.

I believe if a woman is being raped, she's in pretty close contact....


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:55 p.m.

I am not commenting in any way on if the victim was drunk or had been drinking. I just want to point out in these late night situations, usually people are out with friends at parties, concerts, bars or any other place, and the Michigan rule basically dose not permit you to have even one drink if you have your gun. I am not commenting on the gun being an effective deterrent, just that state law prohibits you from carrying it in certain situations, so carrying a gun (under the law) would only work for people that are going out and not having even a drink, or weren't going to one of the banned places.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

Then if you choose to carry, practice with it and DON'T MISS


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

However, if you miss, the bullet has to hit something...or someone.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

Sammara, The item you describe is called a sonic grenade. In the 90s it was a great fad. Let me ask you this. The sonic grenades are not so loud as to be incapacitating. I doubt they are even as loud as an average car alarm. How many people come running to those? How many just ignore them? Using this unfortunate instance as an example, how would a sonic grenade have helped to STOP the attack here?


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

I think that the personal alarm idea is a good idea. all you have to do is pull a pin and the alarm is very loud so put it next to their hear hit them and run screaming for your life.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

smokeblwr, sigh, for the jillionth time. Weapons, including guns are but ONE PART of a rounded self defense plan. NO ONE tool will get the job done. NO ONE tool can be effective without FIRST planning ahead and staying aware.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

Yup. Just once ought to do it. You will hit or miss but your assailant will likely be fleeing after the big bang goes off.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

So, just start shootin'?

Milton Shift

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

I feel I should elaborate on the significance of tazers being illegal in Michigan. They are the single best tool a woman can have to defend herself, as they are instantly disabling. Ever try pepper spraying someone when they're within grabbing reach? Yeah... don't. You'll get the snot beat out of you. They are non-lethal so no one will hesitate to use them, as is so common with knives or firearms. They are disabled long enough to be tied up, or further disabled via kicking them, dialing 911, and having them put where they belong - jail.

Milton Shift

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

&quot;I would rather face an assailant with a gun than a tazer. And I would recommend a firearm over a tazer for self defense.&quot; In the first sentence, you suggest that guns are less threatening than tazers. Yet in the second sentence, you suggest guns are more threatening than tazers.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

Hornet spray works really well &amp; can shoot up to 30 ft.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

I'm with Dave. Tazer need to stay with LE only. I would rather face an assailant with a gun than a tazer. And I would recommend a firearm over a tazer for self defense. Not sure what kind of tazers would be available to the public out there. One type fires darts with wires attached where you can miss, the other requires you to be very close to your opponent. You do not want to be close. If you are grabbed and you taze, the person who grabbed you I believe that you get tazed too. Then it's a matter of who recovers quicker, right?


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

yep, except the perp already has no trouble breaking the law, so he already has whatever offensive weapons he wants.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6:51 p.m.

It works both ways; said would-be rapists would also be legally permitted to carry tazers. Who's to say they wouldn't use them in the same way you described the would-be victims could use it to foil an attacker?

Milton Shift

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

It is a felony for a woman to carry a tazer in the state of Michigan. She could get almost as much time as the man who rapes her. Make sense? You tell me.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:42 p.m.

@ Sammara Many people have in this state alone. &quot;Today - there are approximately 276680 Michigan CPL holders.&quot; (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

how many people are going to want to carry a gun? or have the time to get a license for one?


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6:48 p.m.

You're stripping important context here: it's not just women who aren't allowed to carry tazers... NO ONE is. They're potentially lethal weapons. At least to some degree, the negative connotation of the weapon can be blamed on the uproar about suspects dying when police, who are trained, used them. I'm all for arming women with tactics/weapons for self defense against criminal elements on the streets, but if you arm women with tazers, you must allow everyone to arm themselves with tazers; it's the basic principle of civil liberties. Do you prefer everyone walk around with tazers? You can answer that question any way you like, but either way, you're not going to like the result.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 5:36 p.m.

A Tazer is a potentially lethal weapon. I think a whistle and the usual advice about awareness are the best defenses. We should leave the enforcement to the law enforcement professionals.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 5:05 p.m.

Because a tazer incapacitates someone without killing them? C'mon people. Guns aren't the answer.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

Why carry a tazer when you can carry a gun? It's not a felony to carry a gun if you have a CPL.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

I'm thinking now is a good time to get the undercover enforcement teams up and hell with new trees, fountains, tennis courts and bike paths! I really can't believe the absolute and total ignorance of those &quot;in power&quot;...or maybe it's simply a case of being asleep at the wheel...even that is painting a better picture than the reality! This is really beyond pathetic, Ann Arbor mayor and City Council, shirking your first responsibility to our community...Public safety?! I'm willing to bet there's going to be some new faces both in the mayors seat as well as the council...not to mention the old ones with a footprint on their behinds as they get voted out!!! Simple fact is...if you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got...time to do something different Ann Arbor!!!

Mark Evans

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

@Kris - Ann Arbor ranks #6 best place to live in the country and is #11 in the top 100 cities in the country in terms of having the LEAST amount of crime. Do you have any actual facts to support? See <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

Get one of these dogs and you will not be raped if you are walking with them. They will delighted to tear into any man trying to harm you. This is some of the best protection out there ladies.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:08 a.m.

Major...unfortunately, the undercover enforcement teams are spread out all over the place if they even exist any more. Someone wrote the police department is understaffed compared to other cities. There used to be &quot;beat cops&quot; downtown that we all would see and get to know. Where are they now? Police presence helps deter criminal activity. Does any one know how many police officer positions have been cut or not filled in the last 5 to 10 years? I heard the force is nearly half of what it was 10 years ago. Times are tough. Criminal activity picks up when times are tough. We lay off cops. Doesn't make sense. If people think Ann Arbor is exempt from crime, they are living in a vacuum. Where do criminals areas of poverty or areas of prosperity? not go anywhere alone. A concealed weapon will get you or an innocent person killed. Be smart and ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. Learn how to use your knees, feet, and fist. Pepper spray isn't a bad idea, but be sure you know how to use it. Most attackers try to come from behind. Hard to use pepper spray in that instance. City Council...wake up. You can no longer compromise public safety. People are not going to want to come down town for fear of getting caught in a shoot out, robery, or rape.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:56 a.m.

Mark...are you kidding me? This city is pretty safe? This city doesn't report half the crimes going on. The &quot;gun fight at the O.K. corral&quot; on 4th street (where one of the shooters was caught by one of the officers that was recently laid off), bank robberies, stabbings... Seriously?

Mark Evans

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 11:46 p.m.

Don't be silly. I like Ann Arbor as it is, so I'm pretty happy to get what I &quot;always got&quot;. The reason this sticks out is because the city is so safe compared to many other cities of our size. I like trees and fountains and I perceive a clear political agenda in your comment. It is very probable that this is a single serial rapist, not a city gone wild with crime. Please don't exploit this incident to make political points.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

The one(s) responsible for these attacks are the attackers, not the City Council. You could have police stationed at every corner and unless they were following every woman on the street, or into alleys, or restrooms, or elevators it wouldn't make a bit of difference. And, PS, the yearly salary and fringe benefits for one cop is a LOT of money and killing the much despised fountain would also not have made a bit of difference. And before you become outraged at that statement and fly into a spitting rage at me, I certainly am not implying that cops aren't worth it, because I believe they do a dangerous and challenging job and deserve good compensation for that.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:14 p.m.

I am sure they are already out there. Problem is it is very iffy. Right place at right time is critical.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

You are SOOO right. The &quot;leaders&quot; have pet projects, very costly ones at tax payers' expense, but public safety doesn't seem to be on their list at all.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

Absolutely! We now have roughly half the police per capita in Ann Arbor that most other communities consider a minimum. No guarantees that greater police presence would have made a difference in these cases, but nonetheless, it's ridiculous how underserved we are in this department. We need more people on this, and now we don't have them. Time for one of those wanting to cut police forces further to look one of these victims in the eye, and tell them that things like DDA &quot;improvements&quot; to make Main street prettier are more important than public safety. Not even counting business taxes, what would it cost to bring back another 50 officers to the force (still leaving us below national levels)? $30-$40 per citizen per year? Be careful out there people. Don't walk alone, stay in populated areas, and if you ever feel uneasy keep a can of pepper spray in your hand, unlocked, thumb on the trigger. I hope they catch this scum bag before there are any more victims.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

You are absolutely correct, Major. City Council's priorities have been in the to*let too long! If they need an undercover decoy, I'll volunteer.

Michigan Man

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

Were any of the victims armed? Concealed carry might help immensely. I wish safety and security to all Ann Arborites!


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:31 a.m.

&quot;But if you want to lose your life trying to find out, be my guest.&quot; You just don't get it. If you're already in the fight of your life. You've got nothing left to lose. Its your life to gain but if you want to forfeiit it, be my guest..


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:31 a.m.

a2zoo. You think a rapist would have a concealed weapons permit? What a good person, to violently rape women, yet apply for a concealed weapons permit where he'd have to register his firearm and be fingerprinted. Yup, darn those criminals filling for legal permits.

Matt Cooper

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:31 a.m.

Do you honestly think that in an enclosed space such as an elevator, with a determined attacker making a surprise attack, that you would have time to pull your weapon, take aim, and hit him before he has you in his grasp and totally subdues you? Do you? This is why concealed carry is a pipe dream. A false hope and a false sense of security. You wouldn't stand a chance, I don't care how good you think your training is. But if you want to lose your life trying to find out, be my guest.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 11:54 p.m.

In that situation I would hope that there are others around who would hear screams and come to assist the victim. Your solution is too simplistic. You cannot assume that by simply giving someone a gun that they are going to be able to use it correctly when confronted by a situation such as a possible rape. It just is not going to happen in most circumstances. The ideal way to deal with this is to do all you can to prevent yourself from being in such a situation. Yeah, it does cause a little more effort on the part of any and all potential victims, however most of us do not drive a car without wearing a seat belt and most of us do not drive a motorcycle without a helmet. What I am saying is that all of us need to be aware or our surroundings, whenever possible do not be alone at night in a vacant area and if you are, do it fast. Everyone, in my mind, has a responsiblity as human beings to be aware and be willing to at least do something when they see, hear or feel a potential threat. And by doing something I mean yelling, screaming, alerting others who will help stop what is happening. I am not some bleeding heart who feels that the perp has rights too, I could easliy blow the brains out of someone who was attacking me, my point is that most people can't and would only end putting themselves and others in more peril. I guess my short answer to your question would be to do whatever necessary to survive, to do all you can to note anything that would identify the perp, so he can be caught, so he would not be able to do this to someone else.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 9:50 p.m.

Then what is your suggestion? In this example nowhere to go. Facing a stronger and determined attacker. No one is coming to your rescue. What do you suggest?


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 9:36 p.m.

A terrified would be rape victim would, in most circumstances, be unable to articulate anything and would very possibly miss her/his intended target if he/she could even have the wherewithall to pull the gun out of their holster, bag, belt whatever. This could result in a bullet going into some unintended target or riccorcheting around in the elevator and entering the shooters body. My point is that most people, yes, even people with CCW permits are not trained to react in violent situations where their safety and the safety of others are at stake. Giving everyone a gun and saying go out and shoot is not the answer.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

Oh my word.. Nationwide, FBI statistics have shown that those willing to go through the trouble and expense of getting a concealed carry permit are also at a lower rate than the police to commit crimes. The chances of your hypothetical rapist having a CPL approaches 0%. You have to be in fear of your life or great bodily harm (and able to articulate such in the aftermath) before you can morally and legally defend yourself with a firearm. After an attack as the rapist is running away is not the time to be shooting at them.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

Uhhh, yeah, that is all we need. A Rapist with a CCW permit and a magnum and a potential victim with a CCW permit and a magnum....spells dead bistander to me....However, as the rapist runs away at least the potential victim was not raped...however, he or she will have to live with the fact that they killed an innocent person...maybe.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:25 p.m.

MR. Blue. Might I add where are your statistics to your assertions? The statistics and references here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> refute MUCH of your claims. And clearly you did not read my first comment. Trapped in an enclosed area, even a &quot;martial arts&quot; expert, if not practiced in STREET COMBAT might be overwhelmed. In such circumstances, empty hands like your assertions become empty threats.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 7:13 p.m.

Blue, you make good points about have a firearm and the particulars about being able to employ its use. Putting a handgun in a purse is not a good idea unless the purse is the type with a built in holster. Still you have to get your hand to it. A belt holster is the best method but that requires practice to draw it because obviously it has to be covered. Ankle holsters are useless except for carrying a second firearm. I disagree that martial or hand to hand defensive tactics are better because in an attack your best friend is distance, keeping away or getting away. It requires a lot more training and practice too. I would not worry about a victim being charged for defending themselves. Its the old judged by 12 or carried by six theory.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

Mr Blue you sound like a cop who either already lost his job or is about to.

Michigan Man

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 6 p.m.

Blue = Did not realize you had a law enforcement background?

Mr Blue

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 5:18 p.m.

Many handguns are taken from the victim by the perpetrator and then used against the victim and then for other crimes. The perp has the jump on the victim so do you suppose that most women, who probably don't expect such an attack could 1) fend off the attacker long enough to, 2) get the gun out of the purse or hidden holster and 3) defend themselves against the attacker without losing control of the gun? I guess there's a chance that everything goes in favor of the victim, but there's a very good chance that it won't. Learning self defense techniques like a martial art is a much better defense against an attacker and mitigates any potential bad outcome that could easily result from using a gun. It's probably best to learn some form of self defense and depend on that instead of a firearm, unless you're some militia type looking for an excuse to shoot. Let's say that the victim kills the attacker before a rape occurs, could the thwarted rapist become the victim in the courts? Th gun owner prosecuted for manslaughter or worse? It could easily happen. Oh, and Patti, I'll keep an eye out for you knowing that you're packing and I'm within range of a stray bullet. I have a life to live without risk of getting mugged or shot because of a stray bullet fired by an amateur in self defense, ya know. Or you losing your gun or having it taken from you and used by a thug against me and my family.

Michigan Man

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 5:15 p.m.

Patti: Good for you - move ahead - your actions will empower you to be and feel safe, secure and confident on the streets of Ann Arbor- which is how I hope all peace loving citizens feel.

Patti Smith

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

Agreed. I got approval for my license and I gotta get to steppin' on this. I know the risks with a firearm but I accept those risks.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 4:09 p.m.

Condolences to the victim. Effective hand to hand combat in a closed environment like this is a hard skill to come by and an easy one to lose once you get it. Good for her to finally report it and I hope she can move past this travesty. Now for the rest of you, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, got enough skills, got enough strength? What would you do? Plan now while you can.


Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

fight back. take back the night, and day.

Chandelle German

Fri, Jul 22, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

Sad to say but I think ALL women should be walking with a friend or male at all times downtown A2 until he is caught. I surely will not be down there anytime soon.

Chase Ingersoll

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:01 a.m.

Exactly. Mr. Smith and his little friend Mr Wesson.